<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> BikeCal.com - Calendar and Bike Info
Home | Wireless | E-Mail Us | Privacy | Mtn Bike | Ride Director Login | Add Century/Benefit Rides

This is a guide to each clubs ride rating system.

Scroll down to each clubs method of interpreting the rating system. 

Each club uses a different system and getting every club to agree on a standard is not going to be possible given the independent nature of cyclists.  So determine what club is sponsoring the ride from the Ride Calendar and come here for a detailed explanation of the rating.  (Ratings courtesy (??) of the each club).

Marin Cyclists

Terrain Difficulty


1. Flat

2. Gentle Grades

3. Rolling Hills

4. Mostly rolling hills, some steep climbs

5. Steep hills, long climbs

A. Leisurely (13-15 mph)

B. Moderate (15-18 mph)

C. Brisk to fast (18+ mph)




Example: A ride rated at 3-B-29 is a 29 mile ride over rolling hills at moderate pace.

* Mountain bike rides are not rated with this system.

Valley Spokesmen Rating Guide

All rides graded according to predicted difficulty as follows:

1) Generally flat with a few easy grades, suitable for beginners and casual riders.
2) Mostly easy grades with a few rolling hills, a challenge for beginners.
3) Moderate grades, some challenge for the average rider.
4) Steep grades with some relief.
5) Mostly steep grades, for strong riders.

Pace is:

FFR (Family Fun Ride) This is a very slow ride designed for ALL bikes and "little people"
P) This is a guaranteed leisurely ride for those who like to 'putz' along on their bikes.
L) Leisurely, many rest stops.
M) Moderate, occasional rest stops.
B) Brisk, few stops.
S) Steady, strenuous, rapid pace.
ND) No Drop - this means that the group will not lose any rider. Most rides are No Drop, but it's at the leader's discretion.

The meaning of the pace ratings are approximately: P=8-10 mph; L=8-13 mph; M=11-16 mph, or may be further broken down to be: L/M=11-13 mph and M/B=14-16 mph; B=14-19 mph; S=17 mph-plus.

For example: A ride rated as 3-M, 25 miles, should have some moderate grades which may challenge the average rider, have a pace of 11-16 MPH, and be about 25 miles long.

Out of consideration to the other riders, if you are uncertain about your ability to complete a particular ride, please check with the ride leader to determine whether you should ride on a particular ride.


All rides graded according to predicted difficulty as follows:

1) EASY: Mostly flat with few hills.
2) EASY/MODERATE: Increasing hills but mostly flat; of short distance.
3) MODERATE: Generally hilly terrain with some rough terrain & occasional obstacles.
4) STRENUOUS: Long, Steep ascent and descents & very rough terrain.

5) MOST STRENUOUS (GONZO): Better have a few espressos before saddling up - ridiculously long, steep climbs & drops; lots of obstacles.

For example: a ride rated 3, 15 miles, should consist of generally hilly terratain with some rough terrain, and be about 15 miles long.

Out of consideration to the other riders, if you are uncertain about your ability to complete a particular ride, please check with the ride leader to determine whether you should ride on a particular ride.

Always bring adequate water and food

Grizzly Peak Cyclists, Inc.

Our ride calendar rates each ride according to pace, terrain, and distance, so that you can pick a ride that meets your needs. We have four riding paces-leisurely ('L'), touring ('T'), moderate ('M'), and brisk ('B'), and five terrain ratings with "1" being flat and "5" very hilly.

Anyone is welcome on the rides; reservations are encouraged to facilitate carpooling, but not required unless stated. Most of our members wear helmets, and we strongly encourage everyone to wear ANSI or SNELL-approved helmets. Persons under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet. (Helmets are required on the Century.)

Many of our local rides start at a BART station to promote the use of public transit. Even if the ride doesn't start at a BART station, it is a handy way home in case of weather changes, mechanical problems, or rider fatigue. 

A 30% chance of rain or showers will probably cancel the ride. If the weather looks doubtful on the morning of the ride, please call the ride leader.

Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club

Casual •       Experienced •••         Moderate ••             Hammerhead ••••
(A "+" next to a "•" means that skill level and up)

Western Wheelers Bicycle Club, Inc.

Following is an explanation of our ride rating system:

RIDE CATEGORY (A-F): Indicates pace as expressed by average speed with A being the slowest. Average speed refers to speed while riding and is independent of the length of the ride. A ride with multiple stops may have the same average speed as one ridden without stops. A & B rides have frequent to semi-frequent stops to wait for all riders. New and inexperienced riders are welcome on A rides. On C-F rides there is no obligation to wait for slower riders if route directions are given.

HILLINESS RATING (1-4):Indicates elevation gain as expressed in feet per mile with 1 being mostly flat. The hillier the ride, the slower the average ride speed. If you are unaccustomed to judging ride difficulty based on the number of feet of climb, or if the ride description is unclear about the amount of climbing, call the ride leader for advice and/or additional information.

MILEAGE ESTIMATES: Mileage is approximate and has been known to vary depending on weather and group composition.

RIDE RATING EXAMPLE: "C/2/35" indicates a ride of approximately 35 miles, with 900 to 1700 feet of climb, ridden at an average speed of 13 mph. 


Approx. Hilliness

Ft./Mi. Rating
--------- ---------
0-25           1
25-50         2
50-75         3
75-100+    4


1 2 3 4

A 8 7 NA NA
B 11 10 9 NA
C 14 13 12 11
D 17 16 15 14
E 20 19 18 17
F 23 22 21 20

CHOOSING YOUR RIDE CATEGORY: The table above indicates average speeds for rides with different hilliness ratings in categories A though F. If you are a new rider, the speeds in your category may seem low because you know you can ride faster at times. Remember, however, that the numbers represent the average speed for the entire ride. Don't attempt rides significantly beyond your level of experience. If you are taking your first club ride, err on the conservative side.

If you are unsure in which category to ride on hilly rides (hilliness ratings of 3 or 4), time yourself climbing Old La Honda Rd. and compare your time with the time range listed below for your ride category. If your time is within the range, you can feel comfortable in riding with that group on hilly rides:

B(40-60 minutes), C(30-40), D(25-30), E(20-25), F(<20)

If your time is higher or lower, you should consider riding with the next faster or slower category. If you choose to ride outside your category, you should neither push the pace of the group (in the case of a faster rider) nor expect the group to wait for you at the top of the hill (in the case of a slower rider).

WEATHER CONSIDERATIONS: Rides on pavement may be canceled if rain seems likely during the ride. If in doubt, call the ride leader.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: As needed, please try to bring basic tools, sunglasses and sunscreen, water bottles, food or food money, a first-aid kit, phone change, "layered", clothing, etc. Bright clothing is recommended.

MOUNTAIN BIKES: Rides are rated by pace (A, B ,C, D, E, F), technical difficulty (EASY, INT, DIFF, EXT), total mileage, and approximate elevation gain. Rides will be canceled by rain at the time or within the 48-hour period prior to the ride. Other severe weather may also cancel rides. Call to confirm with the ride leader if you are unsure. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL RIDES. Please be prepared for the ride (make sure your bike is in working order, bring appropriate tools, food, water, clothing, etc.). All riders will need to sign a waiver before every ride. Minors need a parent or guardian with them to sign the release.


GUNN HIGH SCHOOL main entrance is on Arastradero Rd just east of Foothill Expressway in Palo Alto. Meet in parking lot away from buildings. Don't use when school is in session.

MENLO PARK REC. CENTER (Burgess Park) is between Alma and Laurel St. on Mielke Dr. (near Ravenswood Ave.) in Menlo Park. Meet on Alma side unless otherwise specified.

PALO ALTO CULTURAL CENTER is on Newell Rd just north of Embarcadero Rd in Palo Alto. Meet behind buildings in parking lot.

SHOUP PARK is in Los Altos on University near Main off the Foothill Exp'way.

WOODSIDE GRADE SCHOOL (the EX-TOWN HALL) is on the south side of Hwy84 (Woodside Rd), about 1/4 mile west of Caņada Rd in Woodside. (NOT to be confused with NEW Woodside Town Hall about 1/8 mile east of Caņada Rd). Park in lot at Whiskey Hill and Woodside Road when school is in session.


Santa Rosa Cycling Club

The following system is used in our ride schedule so that riders can estimate the relative difficulty of each ride.

1.TERRAIN MOSTLY FLAT (River Road, Dry Creek)
4.HILLY, A FEW STEEP CLIMBS (Coleman Valley Rd, Franz Valley Rd) 
5.VERY HILLY, LOTS OF LONG CLIMBS (Trinity, The Geysers, Skaggs Springs)

Actual speed may vary, depending on terrain, distance,weather, and group dynamics. Tempo listing is only a ballpark estimate.

A: relaxed pace; frequent regroups; waits for all riders. Over 26 minutes*
B: touring pace; regroups every 30-45 minutes;waits for all riders. 23-26 minutes*
C: brisk pace;pacelines likely;regroups every 30-60 minutes. 19-22 minutes*
D: aggressive pace; pacelines likely; slower riders may miss regroups. Under 19 minutes* 
* NOTE Times are for official SRCC "speed trap"; 4.4 mostly uphill miles on Graton Road from Ross Road in Graton to summit at Tanuda/Facendini junction. If you want to know where you fit in on club rides, time yourself on this section (at your normal riding tempo) and compare your time to the list above

The last figure in the formula, stated in approximate miles. (If in doubt, leader should overestimate mileage slightly.)

Ride leaders should provide maps and/or route instructions. Riders should carry I.D., cash, flat repair kit, water bottle(s), and have their own map in case they get lost.

Non-members are welcome on club rides! If the course seems too long or difficult, the ride leader can generally suggest an alternate starting place or bail-out route. 


Diablo Cyclists - Ride Schedule, call the Diablo Cyclist's Hotline at (510) 274-DIAB and leave a voice mail message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

 Ride Ratings

A=All (Good for Road or Mtn. Bikes), M=Mountain, R=Road

F=Flat, R=Rollers (elev<250 ft), MH=Moderate Hills (elev 250-750ft), H=Hilly (elev >750ft)

R=Relaxed (<12mph), S=Slow (12-15mph), M=Moderate (15-18mph), B=Brisk (>18mph)

ROMP - Mountain Bike Ride Ratings

At the start of the listing for each ride is a code that signifies the rides rating. The code breaks down to pace / technical difficulty / mileage / approximate elevation gain.


A-very easy pace, frequent regroups, wait for riders.
B-some regroups, wait for riders.
C-a few quick regroups.
D-very fast; few or no regroups.
E-an even faster version of D!

Technical Difficulty is based on the hardest significant portion of the ride. If a ride is 10 miles fire road but 1 mile singletrack, the ride would be rated based on the singletrack.

EASY - Smooth singletrack or fire road. Obstacles such as rocks and roots might exist but are not numerous.

INTermediate - Steep, rutted fire road; singletrack with extended sections that can include medium or large rocks and roots; stream crossings; exposure; long singletrack descents.

DIFFicult - Singletrack with very steep and/or rocky sections; narrow trails; exposed side slopes; downhill-side-sloped sections.

EXTreme - Singletrack with extended steep climbs or descents over rough terrain; many tight switchbacks and turns. Portions may require portage.

So, a code of C/INT/12/1500 works out to be an intermediate pace, intermediate technical difficulty, roughly 12 miles of riding and 1500' of climbing.Rides will be canceled by rain at the time or within the 48-hour period prior to the ride. Other severe weather may also cancel rides. Call to confirm with the ride leader if you are unsure.

HELMETS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL ROMP RIDES. Please be prepared for the ride (make sure your bike is in working order, bring appropriate tools, food, water, clothing, etc.). All riders will need to sign a waiver before every ride. Minors need a parent or guardian with them to sign the release. If you want to see the waiver, we have it online in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

You do not need to be a member of ROMP or any other group to participate in the rides (unless it notes specifically in the ride listing). Nor is there a charge for any ride (once again, unless it lists specifically otherwise), though there may be charges instituted by others (e.g. parking or park entrance fees) and you may want to bring money for food stops. We try to note these other expenses/food stops in the ride listing.

Any questions? Feel free to contact Cathy Ott, ROMP's ride coordinator, at (650)968-2146 or OTT2GO@aol.com.

Almaden Cycle Touring Club


1 - Flat or with small bumps, Monterey Hwy, Santa Teresa Blvd.
2 - Small rollers: McKean/Uvas Rds., Portola Valley Loop
3 - Short hills: Shannon, Kennedy, Bailey, Bernal, Croy
4 - Longer hills: Bonny Doon, Hwy 9, Calaveras, Hecker Pass, Tunitas, Mt.Eden/Pierce, Hwy 236, Palomares
5 - Steep hills: Hicks, Sierra, Metcalf, Montebello, Felton Empire, Zayante, Alpine, Henry Coe, Mt.Hamilton
6 - Very Steep hills: Alba, Bohlman, China Grade, Jamison Creek, Quimby, Redwood Gulch, Sanborn


SL - Slow leisurely: below 10 mph. Stops as needed.
L - Leisurely: 10-12 mph. Stops as needed.
LM - Easy moderate: 12-14 mph. Regroups approx. every 30 min.
M - Moderate: 14-16 mph. Regroups approx. every 45 min.
MB - Hard moderate: 16-18 mph. Regroups approx. every hour.
For experienced riders.
B - Brisk: 18-20 mph. Stops infrequently.
S - Strenuous: faster than 20 mph. Stops infrequently.

The Sacramento Bike Hikers

Ride Grading Code

Three factors make up the ease or difficulty of a ride - not counting such chance factors as traffic, road conditions, and weather. These factors are important considerations for riders when selecting rides in which to participate. No rider will knowingly be left behind alone. However, riders should NOT sign up for rides beyond their ability. "Biting off more than you can chew" can result in discouragement, sore muscles, and invites accidents.

Terrain Elevation Represented by an alpha letter.

A - Steep - Mostly steep grades: strong riders only.
B - Steep/Moderate - Some relief from steep grades.
C - Moderate - Hilly; a challenge for the average rider.
D - Moderate/Easy - Rolling hills, a challenge for beginners.
E - Easy - Some gentle grades, but no problems.
F - Flat - If any route is really flat.

Distance Represented by the actual number of miles.

Pace Will range in `miles per hour' between about 10 mph on easy short distance rides, to 20+ mph on hard long distance rides. Generally, the pace increases as the difficulty (steepness and distance) of the ride increases  Riders tend to increase their pace as they gain experience, fitness, and are challenged by difficulty. Beginners and novices are strongly advised to select easy and short distance rides to start with, and progress up the grading scale with experience and capability.


The "No Sweep" rides, designated by the symbol above, tell potential riders that they need to be self-sufficient. No one will be following behind to look out for them should they need assistance. It tells them that they shouldn't consider this ride unless they would probably do it on their own or with a friend. Basically it's a ride for experienced riders.

However, ride leaders are encouraged to arrange regroup points on the route to allow riders to stay together. Riders on "No Sweep" rides are encouraged to ride together and check with stopped riders to see if they need assistance. Ride leaders will still check to make sure everyone returns safely.

Fremont Freewheelers

Click here for their ride rating page

Velo Club Miwok

The following grading system is used to estimate the degree of difficulty of each ride.

2.-Rolling, easy grades
3.-Moderate grades
4.-Hilly, few steep climbs
5.-Very hilly, considerable climbing, grunting.

L-Leisurely (10 mph)
M-Moderate (10-15 mph)
B-Brisk (>15 mph)


For example: A 4-M-35 would be a 35 mile hilly ride at a moderate 10-15 mph pace.


© BikeCal.com 2009